Universiteit Leiden

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Institutions for Conflict Resolution

Constitutional environmental rights

An effective and equitable approach to resource conflicts?

Resource conflicts around the world have become more frequent and intractable in recent decades, serving as a battleground over the appropriate balance between economic priorities and environmental and human rights concerns. Meanwhile, there has been a global surge of initiatives to promote environmental justice, including international recognition of the right to a healthy environment, and constitutional reform to protect the right at national levels. Constitutionalisation may be essential to reframing our normative conceptions of law, nature, power and rights. However, it also has implications for those who are directly impacted by development. How can constitutional environmental rights contribute to the effective or equitable resolution of socio-environmental conflicts? What can be learned from experiences in different jurisdictions, such as Canada, Argentina, Chile or Costa Rica? Do international trade and investment regimes limit domestic constitutional protection, particularly where resource projects are concerned? This research may provide insights into the constitutional frameworks that are best suited to meet the challenge of complex socio-environmental conflicts. 

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